Sunday, January 22, 2012

I didn't want this day to get away from me without posting, because it's kind of a special one. January 22nd is the day in which my comedy flash fiction story, “Mouse House” is featured in the book, Daily Flash 2012: 366 Days of Flash Fiction (Leap Year Edition). It’s a fun, calendar-style anthology in which there is a short piece of fiction (500 words or fewer) for each day of the calendar year. There are some great stories by some very talented authors in this book—check it out!

Writing Updates:

Last year, I focused on short story projects. Although I have only short stories publications so far, I still find the art of writing short stories more challenging than writing longer works. I really wanted to try and hone my short story writing craft, and last year I managed to develop some new skills, earning a couple writing awards in the process. In the November running of Short Shots, an official writing contest of Writing.Com, I won Second Place for my entry, “The Cranberry Cabin.” In October, I participated in a tournament-style writing contest called WYRM’s Gauntlet. After making it all the way to the finals, I won the crowning title of “Gauntlet Champion 2011” with my short story, “Dragon Fly.” It was the first time I’d ever written in the speculative fiction genre—a challenging cross of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. I found I absolutely loved it, but mostly I loved participating in the contest alongside my awesome and talented sis, Nicole Ducleroir. <3 *Waves, Nick!*

This year, I am committed to using every millisecond of writing time on completing my first novel. I have three works in progress to date. I’d wanted devote this year to my 2010 NaNoWriMo novel, but my daughter, Tori, begged me to instead finish my very first manuscript—a fantasy story I’d originally started writing in 2004 for my kids. So how could I refuse her? Of course I won’t, and I am actually quite excited to return to it. What a mess it is though! I have files upon files with notes and outlines galore that I need to sort through. I have already written over 50k words, but I’m starting to think I will be re-writing much of it. It’s all right, I think. I’ve learned so much about writing since I began this project. I’m up for the challenge, and like most parents, I’d do anything I could for any one of my children—especially if it involves me writing a story. :)

Did you know J. R. R. Tolkien’s books evolved out of stories he’d written for his children? I recently listened to an old interview recording I found on Youtube. He was an amazing master of linguistics. Listening to his reading of the Ring Verse is music to my ears~

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Holiday Cheer

Today is the first day it feels like Christmas. I know, I know . . . it's December 28th; Christmas was three days ago. It's just that we had a green Christmas this year--probably the first one in years. Way up here in the North Country, it usually snows by Halloween. Not this year. It really seemed to suck the holiday spirit out of me. Today it finally looks like Christmas outside. It snowed all last night, into the wee hours of the morning, and it is still snowing now. So white out there, sparkling layers on every tree. It's very uplifting to me for some reason. I'm looking forward to tomorrow. My boyfriend Dave and I and the kids will be having our Christmas with my parents (they spent the holiday in NYC with two of my sisters & their families), and then, this weekend we'll be heading to the lake to have Christmas with Dave's family and celebrate New Year's Eve. It's really nice to have the holiday season continue on all week!

I am very proud to have been part of a Christmas anthology that was released this holiday season. It was published by XoXo Publishing. The book's title is Christmas Warmth, and my short story, "The Christmas Fortune" is the final story found in this heart-warming collection. :)

I hope the holiday cheer continues for each of you as it is for me, and I'm sending you all my warmest wishes for a wonderful New Year!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Out of the Shadows

From out of the deep shadows of the blogosphere, I have returned.  J  I never intended for such a long stay away; it was all my computer’s fault!  I had trouble publishing my last post, and then my computer began to spit and sputter until it stuck and refused to move.  I took a week hiatus and got some housework done (wow lol).  Then, Davy spent a good part of his day cleaning up my system, ridding it of 129 infections (!!!) and now it runs!  (Thanks honey).  After I got my computer back, I spent the rest of my free time in February writing a new short story titled The Braided.  That one is now shelved, and I will be look at it again with fresh eyes in a few weeks.

One cool thing happened during my time away I can share.  A short story I wrote back in December, The Christmas Fortune, won a special award in The Classic Story Contest on Writing.Com.  Although it didn't win one of the top 3 places, it was so very nice to be mentioned and to have received a "Writing" merit badge for my work. :D  (If interested in joining Writing.Com, Click Here).

Also, I am excited today because, after much arranging of transportation and re-arranging of schedules, I was finally able to confirm my trip for next weekend--I'll be travelling with my parents and my three children down to Long Island for my baby nephew Derek’s first birthday celebration!!  I am giving up a quiet weekend of writing, because Dave has to work and the kids were supposed to go to their dad’s, but a chance to be with my sisters and my nephews who I rarely get to see is WELL worth it!

It feels great to be back into the light . . .

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Bernard Pivot Blogfest Answers ~

I thought it would be fun to sign up for the Bernard Pivot Blogfest over at One Significant Moment at a Time hosted by my sweet and talented sister, Nicole Ducleroir. My answers to the questionnaire are listed below.

I’m hoping to meet more wonderful people in the Blogosphere, so if you read my responses and we haven’t met yet, pleas become a Follower of my blog and leave me a quick comment so I know you were here—I’ll pop over to your blog and do the same! J


1.  What is your favorite word?
You’ll never get just one answer out of me. I have just so many favorites. I love descriptive words that bring color to the page.  Cerulean, ashen, emerald, burgundy, magenta, jade, pumpkin, crimson.  I also love the word incandescent.

2.  What is your least favorite word?
I am in a deep love affair with the English language.  I cannot think of a single word I dislike.  Even the ugly words are wonderful, because their meanings are ugly, thus making the word fitting.  A word that somehow made its way to some dictionaries is the word ain’t which makes me flinch a little when I hear it spoken, yet, it still finds its way into my own writing because even it is fitting in some character’s dialogue.  I suppose if I had to choose, then my least favorite word is any word misspelled!

3.  What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Everything turns me on creatively.  There’s a story I see in whatever is around me.  Quiet.  The silence turns me on to write.  For me, expressing my creativity through writing is both emotional and spiritual.

  1. What turns you off?
Housework.  And, oh yeah . . . snow days.   :/

  1. What is your favorite curse word?
The F bomb.  When done right, it is still affective in literature today, just as it was in J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye.

  1. What sound or noise do you love?
The crashing of waves onto the shore, the sound of rain, the wind through the leaves on a summer day, the laughter of my three children, the gentle, yet strong voice of the man I love.

7.  What sound or noise do you hate?
Loud, open-mouthed chewing, whining, and the sound of a jackhammer

  1. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? 
Freelance writer.

9.  What profession would you not like to do?
Meter maid, milkmaid, nursemaid, barmaid, or especially not a housemaid!   

  1.  If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
“I LOVED your book!”

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Take it to the Tablet

Something scary happened this past weekend which brought about a realization for me. I am wired like a writer--think so much like a writer, that I have developed a strange appreciation for the hardships in my life.

No, I'm not crazy, masochistic, or twisted--well, maybe a little twisted. It’s just that my writer brain is always on. I find potential stories in anything, and writers are always told to “write what you know”. 

I’d never gone ice fishing before, and my boyfriend, Dave (an avid ice fisherman) took me for the first time on Saturday. I prepared for the cold weather—had even bought tall, insulated, cushy “40 below” winter boots and thick “40 below” wool socks for the occasion.  We went to Lake of the Woods, NY, where I spent my childhood summers with my family before our camp was . . . well, let’s say “sold” in the eighties.  This was the first time I'd been there in the still of winter.  All bundled up, we set out early with our tip ups, jigging poles, ice shanty, and bait. All prepared . . . or so we thought.

For days, snow dotted the skies, and that day was no exception.  By the time we reached the lake, the snow had died down, the temperature was 15 degrees with the wind chill, and we were fine—right up until we stepped out onto the lake.

I could see it in Dave’s expression that something wasn’t good. The top layer of snow acted as an insulator above 7 inches of ice.  In between the top layer of snow and the ice was one foot of heavy snow, thick slush, and ice cold water that sat on the surface of the frozen lake.  When I stepped onto the lake, my boot sunk deep into the mess and lifting it to take another step was strenuous. 

We managed to make it out to where the depths below the ice reached 25 ft, and Dave drilled five holes and set the tip ups.  It was then that I felt a little water had seeped into my right boot. I stayed in the shanty with my feet up. The wind picked up and hours later, we still had no flags. I began to wonder if all the fish had frozen to death beneath the ice. 

Before we packed up, we decided to trudge out farther on the lake to a tiny rock island, where I might get a better view of my old camp.  When we reached the rock, the icy water on the surface of the frozen lake had found its way into my boots, completely saturating them. Trying to be tough and lighthearted, I giggled, imagining the trouble I'd have keeping them on my feet as I trudged back across the lake.  I wasn’t laughing long. My feet were cold. Sure enough, as I struggled to make it back toward the shanty, my right boot stuck in the slush and came off my chilled foot. Now, wobbling and gripping onto Dave for support, I pulled it out and jammed it back into the sloshy sole.  Finally back at the shanty, I rested. That’s when I felt my feet tingling. I was losing feeling in them fast.

I panicked and Dave (who was wearing waterproof swamp boots btw), pulled me along trying to get me off the lake and back to the truck. My asthma kicked in and I began to hyperventilate.  My feet were completely numb.  They were frozen, literally. My brain told me to move them, to lift them so I could move my body closer to safety, but I couldn’t feel them anymore. I fell and I cried in agony.  I kept thinking about Titanic—at the end when Rose is floating on the piece of the boat and she’s icy wet.  She tells Jack, “I can’t feel my body.”  I kept thinking, “This must be what it’s like to fall through the ice and freeze to death.”  Pure agony.  Dave carried my limp body the last 25 yards off the ice and into the truck He cranked the floor heat blower, and I tore off my lead boots and sopping socks. Still no feeling.  Then, came the pain. It bit hard on my toes as the heat blew and slowly thawed them. 

As I sat there, suffering in pain while the feeling tingled back to my extremities and my breathing regulated, I fought with the urge to pity myself.  Instead, I realized I have been given a gift to understand one more aspect of the human condition. A new sense of knowledge that I will, most definitely, take to my writing tablet.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

~ Right at Home ~

Wow . . . Bloggers Rock!!

I am all smiles, blown away by all of the love and warm welcomes I am receiving from my new blogger friends. J What an awesome community you are!

Big hugs to my gorgeous sister, Nick (Nicole, Nicki D), for plugging my blog on her awesome blog, One Significant Moment at a Time on her Facebook, and her twitter (I think, not a tweeter myself YET).  Sharing all that we share, our passion for writing and now blogging, means the world to me.  You truly are an amazing sister and I love you!

To all of my new followers and friends: I am having a blast visiting your blogs & reading through your posts. Already I am inspired by you.

If you haven’t heard from me yet, you will. I’ve been working hard trying to learn how to navigate the site & visit everyone. I feel I should add a note about some trouble I am having viewing some of your blogs. I am visually impaired and use the accessibility options to view webpages. Some blogs with special html are coming out blank on my computer, and I can’t read the posts on those blogs. I have to play around with my settings & possibly update my web browser. Hopefully, I’ll be able to work out the kinks so I don’t miss out on anyone’s brilliant posts!

Just love being here!  Thanks again for making me feel right at home <3  

Thursday, February 3, 2011

From the Word, Go

From the word, go (or from whatever word I happen to pen first), I am here . . . dedicated and excited to share. 

Of course, I am referring to my writing-- and all of the ever-sparking inspirations, constant struggles, periodic successes, and perpetual perseverance it takes for me to create a polished piece of writing.  I don’t find the process easy—not at all, which is (I know) the driving force behind my need to do it.  Writing, for me, is a challenge—a challenge I thrive on.  The written word is nothing less than beautiful in my eyes.  Striving toward the betterment of my craft, learning something new everyday to improve, keeps me writing.  I often wonder: Is it the creation itself, the finished piece of writing, or is it the creating, the penning process, I love the most?  Oh, let’s be honest, I have a deep love affair with both!  I hope through my journaling here, I will work through some of my writer’s bumps, giving me the opportunity to reflect on where I’ve been, where I am at, and where I hope to end up down the road.

Complexity rules my life, and I often travel down rocky roads, trying to balance my goals as an author with my role as mom to my three fabulous children.  My family is a part of who I am, both personally and as a writer; stories about them and the joy they bring me may find their way into my posts. J Also, I am an avid reader, so I look forward to sharing my impressions of stories, poems, essays, articles, and novels I’ll be reading.  I look forward to meeting other readers and writers on Blogger ~ J ~

Shout Out:  To Nick for talking me into starting a blog (Can you even believe I finally did it?!)  You were right, I am glad to be here ~ Love you, sis! <3